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Combat sports have become increasingly popular in today's generation, as athletes from all over the world compete in many different styles of Martial Arts. Boxing, Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, and Wrestling are among some of the most deadly, and popular forms of combat. For centuries men have battled against each other in search of supremacy, and the evolution of these sports have not changed the ideals.

What this article covers:

In the modern era Martial Arts have become a breeding ground for professional athletes, and testing their skills against other disciplines has become prominent. The birth of the UFC opened up a whole new way of thinking for combat athletes, and pitting different styles against each other has become iconic to many fight fans. Watching combat styles like boxing vs jiu jitsu, or muay thai vs wrestling have become prolific battles, especially in Mixed Martial Arts.

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wrestling vs boxing

Almost every fight that takes place inside of the cage has elements of boxing versus wrestling, and determining which style could beat the other has a range of different factors involved. The boxing speed vs power ratio is highly important to a boxer, and this is so they can infiltrate their opponents range quickly, while still having an adequate amount of power to finish the fight. A wrestler relies on their constant pressure, and their aggression to close the distance on their opponents, and this is so they can take the fight to the ground where they have a clear advantage over all striking arts. 


Boxing is an age old Martial Art that dates back to the beginning of man. Ancient carvings that were discovered in caves suggest that boxing, and other forms of fighting using the fist, were seen in Mesopotamian times in Northern Iraq and Babylonia. These depictions were also related to ancient Egyptian, Greek, and African cultures, as these early men would battle for sport, pride, and glory. In the seventh century the Greeks would engage their warriors in combat sports, as they would often fight each other to the death for sports in the old Olympiad. This was highly heroicized by the European nation, as many fans were heard chanting from the stadium. This brutal form of combat did begin to evolve over the next few centuries, as certain rules were imposed, and the element of fighting to the death was slowly phased out.

Centuries later, boxing finally reached the shores of the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. At the time boxing matches were highly illegal, as they encompassed bare knuckled fights with illegal gambling elements attached. This underground prize fighting was highly scrutinised by the public, as many middle, and upper class citizens protested against what they deemed to be a highly brutal, and unnecessary form of sport. What made matters worse were casino organisations began tampering, and match fixing in a bid to make copious amounts of money, which put boxing squarely in the middle of a criminal enterprise. This only fuelled the lower class citizens, as they saw boxing as a way to make money for their families. This led to some athletes vying to legitimise the sport of boxing, so they could stay on the good side of the authorities, and make an honest living that didn't involve throwing fights for money. 

Finally boxing had its big break, as the Marquess of Queensberry rules were introduced in 1867. This rule set involved athletes wearing sixteen ounce boxing gloves, engaging in timed rounds, and fighting in a boxing ring surrounded by ropes. This only aided in the health and safety of all athletes in the sport, as boxing took another step towards legitimisation. In the 1890's the first champion under the Queensberry rules was crowned, as Jim Corbett beat John L Sullivan, which grabbed the attention of many upper class citizens. Finally the tide had turned, and boxing had now become a sport adored by all of the people. This helped many young athletes build a career in boxing, as the multi billion dollar commercial enterprise became the most popular combat sport worldwide. 


Just like the origins of boxing, wrestling has also been around for thousands of years, in fact wrestling seems to predate any form of combat throughout the ages. Drawings found in French caves date back at least fifteen thousand years, and Babylonian and Egyptian people are depicted using similar wrestling holds to the modern day form of combat. Ancient India also used wrestling, as it was written all throughout the ancient Indian Vedas, and during the Mahabharata. Wrestling was also recounted all throughout the Trojan war in the twelfth century, and was extremely prominent during the ancient Greek Olympiad. In  Greek culture wrestling has been spoken about as folklore, and all throughout their literature, as the philosophy of their culture was heavily embedded with elements of Greek wrestling. Just like ancient Greek boxing, wrestling was just as brutal, and this form of combat was almost an early form of Mixed Martial Arts, which consisted of athletes fighting to the death.

Ancient Romans basically took all of the components from Greek Wrestling, and then added significant rules to make the art form less dangerous. The Roman emperor Basil was recorded throughout history by wrestling in many contests, with one of the most famous in a win against a boastful wrestler from Bulgaria during the eighth century. This began a development of the art towards a more skillful contest, as opposed to the brutal nature that the Greeks instilled in their warriors. Other cultures have also had ties to ancient wrestling, with Shuai jiao, a style of wrestling that began in China, which was said to have been practised over four thousand years ago. During the middle ages, right up until the fifteenth century wrestling was even popular among the royal families from France, Japan, and England.

In the 1800's early British immigrants that settled in America brought with them a strong culture of wrestling. Once they had settled they discovered that Native Americans also used wrestling as their main physical sporting activity. Throughout the next century wrestling thrived in America, as many athletes would practise this artform at local county fairs, and throughout military training. In 1888 wrestling was organised into a tournament form in New York City, which led to the development of many young American athletes. Greco Roman Wrestling was added to the Olympic Games in 1896, and by 1904 wrestling had become a prominent fixture in the Olympic contest. In 1912 the international governing body for wrestling was founded, and the United World Wrestling organisation was in control of the structure of the sport. The inaugural NCAA Wrestling Championship was held in 1928 in Ames, Iowa, and by 1983 the national governing body of the US amateur wrestling federation was relocated to Colorado Springs.


Striking versus grappling has become synonymous with Mixed Martial Arts, with many battles having taken place between professionals in both disciplines. Wrestlers like Daniel Cormier, Brock Lesnar, Randy Couture, and Khabib Nurmagomedov have all achieved champion status with their phenomenal wrestling ability inside of the cage. Boxers have become equally as formidable with athletes like Connor McGregor, Junior Dos Santos, Nate Diaz, George St Pierre, and Nick Diaz all showcasing their boxing ferocity inside of the cage. With boxing and martial arts like wrestling, they have the tendency to cancel each other out. A boxer will simply throw punches, which will usually force a wrestler to let go of their clinch hold, and a wrestler has the ability to close the distance on a boxer and initiate takedown maneuvers. 

Striking arts are extremely versatile, as they have a formidable culture surrounding its origin. Striking against a grappling art form has proven extremely successful inside of the Mixed Martial Arts arena, especially considering the fact that ground and pound is legal, which is the act of striking a grounded opponent. Grappling arts can be just as effective, and even though they do not practice any sort of effective strikes, their arsenal of takedown maneuvers, positional control, and submission moves are extremely effective in their own right. Both of these arts have their own strengths and weaknesses, and identifying how to expose each discipline's weaknesses, while imposing their strength is the key component.


Training in an art form like boxing has a lot of cardiorespiratory endurance drills, coupled with strength and conditioning, and many fundamental boxing drills. One of the most important aspects for a boxer is to work on their footwork skills. It takes agility, balance, posture, and coordination to execute a good series of footwork movements. All athletes must be able to step in and out of range quickly, or use lateral shuffling to either side, or diagonally, so they can attack or evade their opponents. This is all coupled with good head movement as a way to move out of range, and fake out an opponent, so the boxer can land significant punches. Practising moving in a lateral direction, or using diagonal hops is how a boxer can penetrate their opponent's defenses, and utilising these aspects in drilling is extremely important.

Shadow boxing is one of the best training exercises, because it teaches an athlete to use their footwork, and combine them with head movement, punching combinations, all while improving their cardiovascular ability, and their creative fight strategy. Shadow boxing can be used as a warm up drill, or as an intense workout, or to simply improve the quality of their striking. The most common boxing training is for athletes to hit the boxing bags, or the focus mitts, and this is so they can work on many aspects of their punching. Working on their power is important so they can utilise knockouts in their fight, but they must also use the focus mitts, so they can work on their timing, and the precision of their punches. All of this must be trained while using evasive skills, and during all of these exercises, boxers must remain focused, and this will determine whether a boxer will become skillful enough to become a professional fighter.


Wrestling can be one of the most tricky forms of combat to increase an athlete's skills in. The difference a wrestler has compared to a boxer, is that a boxer can simply hit the boxing bags in a solo drill, and they are always going to improve their skills in boxing. A wrestler on the other hand can only get good at wrestling by utilising full contact sparring with their training partners. It is next to impossible to improve their skills in wrestling without practicing these moves on a real life opponent. Wrestling involves a strenuous series of clinch holds, body lock holds, and leg grips. All wrestlers are extremely well conditioned, as they need powerful core muscles so they can use explosive movement, in order to take their opponents down to the mat. They also have really good agility, and an incredible resilience, which is from being pounded into the mat time and time again.

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what is the difference between boxing and wrestling

Athletes will work on certain types of drills, like initiating a clinch hold, and ducking under their opponent, or shooting in for low single legs and practicing their takedown maneuvers. There is no easy way to get good at wrestling apart from grinding out a heavy body of work. Athletes can utilise wrestling drills where they will lay face down on the mat, and their opponent will attempt to grab them around the waist in a body lock, and look to pin them on their back. The object of this drill is for the athlete to escape the grips, and get on top of their opponent. This can be extremely grueling, as both of these athletes will be under an extreme amount of pressure, as they both try to get their opponent's shoulders pinned to the mat. Another good drill is quite similar, where an athlete will hold their training partners down on the mat, and the object of this drill is to simply get back to their feet. This drill involves core strength, explosive power, and an incredible amount of endurance, and resilience.


There have been many fights between boxers, and wrestlers throughout the generations, as the UFC has some of the most enthusiastic, and talented fighters in the world. Picking a winner between a wrestler and a boxer has many different elements involved, like the striker boxing southpaw vs orthodox stance, as this can determine how they will initiate attacks on a wrestler.  Most people think that raw talent, athleticism, and skills in fighting will always win them the fight, but the most important factor of all is fight strategy. If an athlete has a strategic plan in order to win their fight they are going to have more success than relying purely on their athleticism, or their skills within their own discipline. This is why a boxer needs to use strategy against a wrestler, because the wrestler has the ability to quickly close the distance, and take the boxer down to the mat.

This is a hard fight to call, because a wrestler has an incredible skill set in taking their opponents to the mat, and neutralising them in a grounded aspect, where a boxer will struggle to get back to their feet. Wrestlers do not use striking in their Martial Art, which gives a boxer an edge in the contest, because it can only take one good punch to finish the fight. When it's boxing vs mma who would win, then the boxer will always have a hard match, and in an MMA situation a wrestler can use striking which will give them a definitive advantage over a pure boxer. Outside of Mixed Martial Arts a boxer has the ability to evade any wrestling advances, and utilise their unique punching ability to neutralise a wrestler. Both of these styles to some degree will cancel each other out, making it extremely hard to determine who could win a fight between these two talented fighting styles. In Mixed Martial Arts a wrestler has a better chance of winning, but you can never count out a boxer, as they can land devastating knockout punches.

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